A Starbucks worker who is the focus of a federal government complaint against the company says she was fired in retaliation for her unionization efforts.
The National Labor Relations Board complaint, filed by Laila Dalton and another Starbucks employee last month, alleges that the company violated the federal Labor Code by monitoring and retaliating against union supporters and “interfering with workers from forming a union.” , restrained and coerced,” said the board’s regional director in Phoenix, Arizona.
On April 4, Ms Dalton took to social media to announce that “they fired me”.
“My heart is broken,” she said.
The store’s union election begins this month.
Ms. Dalton began organizing after the campaign in Buffalo, New York, which successfully chose to form the first-ever union at a company-run Starbucks store. The day before Ms Dalton and her colleagues planned to announce their store’s campaign, she was caught up in a conversation with management, which she recorded.
According to the Labor Board’s complaint, Ms Dalton had complained about understaffing, work schedules and the treatment of other workers by supervisors, for which she received a suspension and warning citing absenteeism and other violations previously excused, including unauthorized shifts and medical Care for absenteeism according to the complaint.
Starbucks management called employees’ communications with other employees about staff shortages “as inappropriate and negative and cited these communications as grounds for disciplinary action, threatening employees with disciplinary action if they engage in protected concerted activities,” according to the government report, the most recent month was released.
The Labor Board said Starbucks disciplined workers because they were “supportive [union] and to engage in and discourage employees from engaging in concerted activities,” despite federal protections for employees to engage in “concerted activities” to address work-related issues.
CEO Howard Schultz, who recently succeeded Kevin Johnson after 13 years at the helm of the company, told a city hall on April 4: “We cannot ignore what is happening in the country because these are companies across the country that are run by many are attacked avenues by threats of unionization.”
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges confirmed that Ms Dalton was fired and claimed that she “has been contacted numerous times for conduct that does not reflect the company’s mission and values,” he said The Independent.
“A partner’s interest in a union does not absolve them from the standards we have always held. We will continue to consistently enforce our policies for all partners,” he said.
He referred to Ms Dalton’s recordings of discussions with management “without their consent, which is against the law [Arizona].” Arizona is what is known as a “one-way” consent state, meaning that an in-person recording between at least two people must have permission from at least one person, although that person may be the party making the recording.
Ms Dalton has entered into discussions with two managers “at least twice in the past week”, he added.
Her recordings and “final written warning … resulted in her termination,” he said The Independent.
She told More Perfect Union that she was “harassed every day.”
“I know when someone is going to bother me, so I always want to record,” she told the outlet.
Starbucks Workers United, which represents the organizers, said the company “will not get away with this blatant retaliation” against Ms Dalton. “They must be held accountable for their unscrupulous actions.”
Following the Buffalo union election, more than 100 company-run Starbucks locations ran for union elections, with victories at a dozen locations, with the newest — and largest yet — at a flagship roastery in Manhattan. A store in Mesa, Arizona, was the first to win a union election outside of New York.
Starbucks has repeatedly denied involvement in anti-union efforts, while workers and union organizers have claimed the company has held meetings, sent anti-union messages and sent relief about management interference to discourage workers.
The Independent has asked Ms Dalton and union organizers for comments.